US Media Move Collectively Against Trump’s Systemic Insults

US Media Move Collectively Against Trump’s Systemic InsultsUS Media Move Collectively Against Trump’s Systemic Insults
Trump began denouncing mainstream media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and NBC as “fake news media” and “the enemy of the American people” soon after his inauguration in 2017

More than 350 newspapers and other media outlets joined The Boston Globe in publishing editorials on Thursday promoting freedom of the press and refuting US President Donald Trump’s labeling of the news media as the “enemy of the people.”

The Globe, in an effort started last week, gained support from other newspapers—small and large, across the US—in an attempt to thwart Trump’s ongoing “assault on the free press,” the Globe wrote in its editorial Thursday, USA Today reported.

Trump began denouncing mainstream media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and NBC as “fake news media” and “the enemy of the American people,” soon after his inauguration in 2017.

Such rhetoric can have “dangerous consequences” and is typical of authoritarian regimes, the Globe’s editorial posits.

“Replacing a free media with a state-run media has always been a first order of business for any corrupt regime taking over a country,” the Globe wrote. “Today in the United States we have a president who has created a mantra that members of the media who do not blatantly support the policies of the current US administration are the ‘enemy of the people.’”

 Widespread Criticism 

Newspapers from Bangor, Maine, to San Diego were among those with editorials. Most conveyed concerns about Trump’s willingness to attack any less-than-flattering news reports.

“It’s not a coincidence that this president—whose financial affairs are murky and whose suspicious pattern of behavior triggered his own Justice Department to appoint an independent counsel to investigate him—has tried so hard to intimidate journalists who provide independent scrutiny,” the Globe said.

Trump responded to the concerted effort via Twitter, saying the Globe is “in COLLUSION with other papers on free press” and tweeting, “THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country....BUT WE ARE WINNING!” 

The editorials say public officials must accept a free press for the role it plays as a watchdog in helping democracy function.

The New York Times, in its editorial, noted the Supreme Court in 1964 ruled that “public discussion is a political duty” and must be “uninhibited, robust and wide-open,” and “may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials.”

The newspaper devoted a full page in Thursday’s print edition to its editorial and dozens of excerpts from others across the country. The Times’ Opinion page also tweeted several excerpts.

The Delaware County Daily Times in Swarthmore, Penn., in one of those editorials the Times tweeted, refuted Trump’s “fake news” labeling and declared “we are not the enemy of the people.”

“Opinions are not ‘fake news’. The editorials and op-eds we write and publish are just that—opinion,” the Daily Times’ editorial said. “We sometimes endorse candidates based on the information we have and who we think will best serve our community. You may agree with us, or you may not. That’s OK. Our job is to provide you with the facts so you can form your own opinion and make your own informed decisions.”

 Verbal Attacks on Reporters

Several editorials said local officials were increasing verbal attacks on reporters, leading to an uneasiness about potential violence against journalists.

“Despite criticism and words of caution, Trump’s assault on the press hasn’t eased. If anything, it is ramping up, creating an atmosphere of hate, anger and potential violence against reporters,” wrote the Swift County Monitor News of Benson, Minn.

The Senate unanimously passed by voice vote Thursday a resolution, introduced by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., condemning attacks on the free press and confirming “that the press is not the enemy of the people.”

Some newspapers sat out the initiative, with the San Francisco Chronicle ‘s editorial editor John Diaz writing “it plays into Trump’s narrative that the media are aligned against him.”

He also said it was worth noting editorial pages are run separately from the news-gathering segment of the newspaper. “That operation is kept separate from the news side, where editors and reporters make their judgments without regard to the newspaper’s editorial positions,” Diaz wrote. “This includes the endorsements we make in elections.”

Overall, the concerted effort by hundreds of newspapers—and many TV and radio stations—reflects the pressure that Trump has ratcheted up on the media. During the day, Twitter hashtag #FreePress propagated messages about the need for independent journalism and for readers’ support in the form of subscriptions.


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